On first listen Stone Woman seems immovable, but spend some time with Charlotte Day Wilson's latest musical endeavour and the six-track EP reveals its emotional and musical complexity.
The relatively new artist — when you include 2016's self-released CDW EP and a stint as part of Toronto quartet the Wayo — has established a signature sound. Her satin vocals and a smouldering approach to R&B have gotten her this far, and Stone Woman doesn't so much as change the formula as refine it.
The haunting melody of the title track highlights the classically trained Wilson's approach, as notes of jazz, pop and soul underscore a potential quiet storm mainstay. Thematically, Stone Woman is steeped in reflection and strength; it's an unblinking look at relationships gone, partnerships to come and associations in the present. "Doubt" deals with "the comfort of truth" and the price of emotional complacency: "I'm selfish and dumb for your love." Elsewhere, "Nothing New" treads the familiarity of love and the problems that state can create; the boom-bap of "Let You Down" borrows from late '90s R&B but updates it for the modern day; and "Falling Apart" is an expansive soundscape that explores love's irrational nature. Closer "Funeral" is a incisive look at love lost: "I went to a funeral / So I could feel something."
It's a fair criticism to note Wilson's distinctive voice prefers to live in a pocket of soul, exploring a quiet intensity that has quickly become a trademark. Yet upon repeated listens, one senses these parameters are expanding, ever so slightly, revealing additional complexity and capability with each successive outing. Stone Woman moves, but at its own lovely pace. (Independent)